Here in St. George and the rest of southern Utah vacation rentals are popping up everywhere. Desert Color, Copper Rock, Sand Hollow, Elim Valley, the list of subdivisions offering owners the option to rent out their vacation homes and condos grows longer by the week.
And there’s good reason. The idea of having an amazing place to vacation in southern Utah that will also provide income when you’re not utilizing it makes a whole lot of sense.
Add in the fact that real estate prices keep going up, and up, and up and the investment looks even more attractive.
Run the numbers first.
Make sure you factor in expenses like utilities, maintenance costs, and management fees. Keep in mind your rental is unlikely to be constantly occupied and that there will be seasonal fluctuations. Once you have all the numbers, you can make a much better decision when it comes to finding the right vacation rental investment.
Have a cash reserve.
The unforeseen can happen. Even brand new properties may need maintenance. Pipes burst and appliances break down. And looking back at the past year or so, we can see the impact global pandemics and other natural disasters can have on rental prospects. You’ll need to have a reserve to meet any of those challenges that might come your way.
Maximize your tax savings.
Owning a southern Utah vacation rental in St. George can provide you with a host of tax deductions. Make certain you record all expenses connected with your rental, from mortgage interest to lawn maintenance. Talk to a tax professional if you have questions.
Market your southern Utah vacation rental.
Even if you choose to let a property manager handle most of the details when it comes to the day to day work of renting, cleaning, and booking your rental, there are ways to connect with renters and keep them coming back year after year. Give the home a name and build a social media following for your property. Put your personality into the decor of the home. Leave notes for your renters and offer plenty of tips for things to do and see while they’re on vacation. Make your rental special and folks will rent it over and over again.
Think about all four seasons.
Consider what you and your family love to do here throughout the year and incorporate those activities into your southern Utah vacation rental. Hang pictures of the fall colors in Pine Valley or Cedar Breaks in the home. Post pictures of skiing at Brian Head to your vacation rental’s Facebook page. Leave flyers for ATV and personal watercraft rentals at the home. Let everyone who rents your home know just how many amazing things there are to do year-round in southern Utah and you’ll help to mitigate those slower months.
Ponder the question of pets.
You can charge a premium for allowing pets and mitigate the potential for costly repairs with thoughtful design choices. For example, go with tile or waterproof laminate flooring and avoid carpet if you plan to allow pets.
Find a southern Utah vacation rental that suits you, but don’t fall in love.
After all, one of the main benefits of owning a vacation rental in southern Utah is getting to use it. Choose a location and the home that’s right for you. But don’t get your heart so set on one particular property that you lose all reason when it comes to making an offer. There are plenty of vacation rentals out there, the right one will find you.
Know the area, or work with someone who does.
If you don’t know southern Utah, having a local real estate agent in your corner is a must. Future plans for growth; the desirability of one neighborhood over another; the potential for disasters like shifting blue clay, or flooding; are just a few of the concerns that can impact the income potential and future property value of your vacation rental. And it’s knowledge only a local agent can provide.
Know your property management options.
Some southern Utah vacation rental subdivisions will obligate you to use a specific property management provider. Know the terms for renting, know your costs, know what their contract says and how it can be altered. If you have a choice when it comes to management, do your homework. Get several quotes before making a decision.
Have an exit plan.
Whether you plan to retire to the home eventually or sell it in just a few years, consider and plan for those eventualities. Factor the cost of the home without short-term rentals into your retirement plans. Work with an estate planner if you wish to leave to the property to your posterity. And stay aware of the market if you plan to sell eventually.